With regard to ongoing talks surrounding OKCPS budget cuts, the Republicans who control the state government are telling us to eat our kids’ education. They — not the local leaders — would starve the schools that serve our poorest children in order to advance charters, vouchers and the entire privatization agenda.
The only way to stop them is to share the pain, unite within it and politically mobilize.
Until we collectively reach that point, however, here are four thoughts about the nature of #oklaed’s latest budget-related crisis.
Blame state budget cuts, not local educators
The first thing to remember when contemplating the OKCPS’s proposed budget cutsis that the Legislature (and the governor) created this mess. Last year, $30 million in reductions were required, and this year’s cuts could exceed $10 million. These deficits were caused by a Republican-controlled state government which has cut per-student funding more than any state in the nation.
And we should not forget that the voters seemed to be on track to ameliorate our education crisis by passing a penny sales tax for teacher pay raises. At the last minute, a fact-free public relations campaign, funded by national as well as state interest groups, swung the election against the initiative.
It’s not a conspiracy
The influence of national and state corporate reformers adds complexity to our local problems. I’ve always tried to see all OKCPS stakeholders as individuals, not as members of reform organizations ranging from Teach for America to the Walton or Broad Foundations or Betsy DeVos’ American Federation for Children. But it is impossible to deny that these reform organizations have pushed a national privatization agenda which contributed greatly to our education woes and which undermined trust.